Four cases of suspected measles detected in Gauteng, health minister calls for calm

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  • Four cases of suspected measles were detected in Gauteng. 
  • Three were detected in Tshwane, and one on the West Rand. 
  • Health Minister Joe Phaahla called for "calm and vigilance". 

Health Minister Joe Phaahla called for "calm and vigilance" after four cases of suspected measles were detected in Gauteng.

The cases were detected during the last two weeks of May.

The health department said three of the cases were from Tshwane, "which means the City of Tshwane is experiencing an outbreak of measles". The fourth case was on the West Rand.

All four people are currently isolating and recovering.

The health authorities in the affected districts and communities were working towards identifying and conducting vaccination of contacts, the department said in a statement. 

Phaahla urged parents and caregivers to ensure their children were up to date with their vaccinations, in line with the vaccination schedule against measles and other childhood diseases.

Children are given the measles vaccine at six and 12 months of age.

READ | Measles kills 14 in Zimbabwe as 17 500 cases recorded in Africa this year

"Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus, which mainly spreads through infectious, airborne respiratory droplets from infected persons when coughing or sneezing.

"However, [the] measles vaccine has been in use for almost 60 years and is the best protection against this life-threatening childhood disease.

"It is safe, effective and available free of charge at public health facilities," the minister said.

Measles symptoms include fever, red eyes, runny nose and cough, which typically appear before the disease's characteristic maculopapular rash.

The department said children, especially those under one, may develop complicated measles, including pneumonia, eye complications, and, rarely, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

It added that unvaccinated young children were at the highest risk of measles and its complications, irreversible brain damage and/or death, especially in immunocompromised or malnourished children.

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